A sailing ship that dates back to the American Revolutionary War was discovered in Alexandria, Virginia, by crews working on the construction of a new hotel.
Archaeologists are working to identify the centuries-old vessel, which archaeologist Francine Bromberg calls “a remarkable archaeological dream basically,” according to Fox-5 TV.
— Arlington Va (@ArlingtonVaRR) January 5, 2016
“We know that this ship was put in place sometime between 1775 and 1798,” added Bromberg.
It’s unclear who owned the ship or what it carried. It’s also unclear if it was used during the Revolutionary War itself.
It isn’t the first time crews working at this particular site have dug up artifacts, as archaeologists a few months prior found the remains of an 18th century warehouse that may have been Alexandria’s first public building, reported Smithsonian Magazine.
Remains of a 1700s ship discovered in Old Town Alexandria; public viewing until noon. pic.twitter.com/43jhhfs3Xx
— Visit Alexandria VA (@AlexandriaVA) January 5, 2016
“It’s very rare. This almost never happens,” archaeologist Dan Baicy told the Washington Post. “In 15 years that I’ve done this work, I’ve never run into this kind of preservation in an urban environment where there’s so much disturbance.”
The wood of the ship did not decay because once it was buried, oxygen couldn’t reach it, Baicy added.
— Tom Fitzgerald (@FitzFox5DC) January 5, 2016
Researchers have noted that construction along Alexandria’s waterfront would yield findings, namely sunken ships. Workers in the late 1700s once used the ships as framework for the landfill efforts that were used to extend the city’s waterfront.